Dear Baylor Family,
Today marks exactly one year since I began serving as President of Baylor University. What a year it has been! This day offers a welcome occasion for me to express my extreme gratitude to the entire Baylor Family for your partnership and support as I have guided this great institution of higher education. Today also provides an opportunity for me to extend my deepest appreciation to fellow faculty and staff members who have endeavored day after day to make Baylor a place of transformational education for our students and a source of transformational change in our world as a Christian research university.
Strength through Collaboration
The resolute commitment and collaborative work of the women and men who serve as members of Baylor's administration, faculty and staff and the coordinated efforts of our talented students have advanced our mission and illustrated the tremendous strength and resiliency of Baylor University.
During the past year, Baylor met established benchmarks in our key performance indicators of enrollment, philanthropy and budget. The story of this success was one written by a team effort across our campus. With a renewed focus on building the University's leadership capacity, including the hiring of several key administrative positions, and a stronger structure and governance model for our Board of Regents, the University is operationally sound and in good stead with our accrediting body. Board of Regents Chairman Joel Allison has provided exemplary leadership during this past year, and I greatly look forward to working with him during his second term as our Board's chairman.
A Focus on Our Students
A few weeks ago, more than 2,500 students walked the Ferrell Center stage to receive their Baylor diplomas during a weekend of celebration and likely quite a few happy tears. It was the culmination of those students' hard work and the support of family and friends over the course of many years. It was a great joy to share in their accomplishment and to hear stories of Baylor as a place "Where Lights Shine Bright." What a remarkable group of graduates.
Our highest priority is helping our students find their callings and equipping them to follow those callings as leaders and servants in our world. During the past year, we have made significant investments in strengthening programs that support student well-being on our campus. From completing the integration of systems and processes in accordance with the 105 recommendations Baylor adopted in response to past issues of sexual violence to enhancing opportunities for service at home and abroad, as well as strengthening the formation of Christian faith and character, Baylor has grown safer, more compassionate and more Christ-centered during the past year.
Illuminate, our Academic Strategic Plan
In the week leading up to May commencement ceremonies, I presented the Board of Regents with an overview of Illuminate, our academic strategic plan, which was unanimously accepted. Baylor is well positioned to pursue the ambitious goals of Illuminate in the years ahead.
Building on the aspirations in Pro Futuris, the strategic vision Baylor adopted a few years ago, Illuminate is structured on four foundational pillars that assert Baylor will be a community recognized for:
Illuminate features five multidisciplinary Signature Academic Initiatives that focus on key challenges facing society today: Health, Data Sciences, Materials Science, Human Flourishing and Ethics, and Baylor in Latin America. These initiatives will amplify and expand our Christian commitment and position Baylor for leadership in fields of national importance. By strengthening scholarship, deepening learning, and enhancing teaching, these initiatives will support our commitment to excellence in undergraduate education and growth in graduate education.
Illuminate has been the result of significant collaboration across our 12 colleges and schools. It has also been informed by a number of Baylor Conversation Series events and an open-ended online feedback form for faculty, staff and students. Illuminate calls for the shared work of the entire Baylor Family to fulfill its ambitious goals. I invite you to visit our new Illuminate website to learn more about the steps we are taking to bring light to the world as a preeminent Christian research university, building on Baylor's historic strengths and strategically investing in key areas of research to find solutions to the immense challenges facing our world.
I look forward to an exciting year to come and to all God will do through the people and work of this University and the lives of our students. Thank you for your love and support of Baylor University. It is an honor and privilege to serve as your President.
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.